Family Suites sues Viacom over Nickelodeon branding

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on June 3, 2010

Family Suites Resort LLC is suing Viacom Inc for breach of contract as a result of the firm allowing a rival hotel chain access to the popular kids cable network, Nickelodeon.

The legal action comes in the wake of last month’s request by Viacom to a court to rule that the company had not violated any agreement. According to Family Suites, however, they were given exclusive rights to the network within 150 miles of their Nickelodeon Suites Hotel located in Orlando, Florida. But Viacom recently entered into a branding deal with Marriott International Inc that allows the popular hotel chain to use the Nickelodeon characters for a ‘Nickelodeon Getaway’ campaign for all hotels in Florida.

Last June, the ‘Nickelodeon Getaway’ campaign began in both Miami and Naples, and was recently extended to Fort Lauderdale. Marriott announced recently that it would extend the theme to its hotels nationwide. Family Suites has filed a compliant saying that Viacom breached its contract because it had agreed to not enter into any arrangements that would serve as competition for the Family Suites’ Nickelodeon-themed hotel in Orlando.

William Brewer, Family Suites’ lawyer, said that Viacom had breached its contract by allowing a competitor to have access to the Nickelodeon branding. However, a spokesman for Nickelodeon, David Bittler, said that the claims were without merit and that Viacom had not violated its agreement.

Family Suites is suing for $180 million in damages. A similar case between the two firms took place last month in New York, where Viacom asked the court to dismiss the compliant because the hotels in question are not within 150 miles of the Family Suites property.

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